Afridi could be the poster boy for Pak unity



I cannot recall having had a better weekend in recent years than this Sunday. Tele-watching Pakistan in the T-20 finals wasn’t just a sporting delight. It was a spectacle the terror-smashed country so richly deserved to realize that it could stand as one in a battlefield.

Torn asunder by the Taliban in the North West, the Pakistanis couldn’t have asked for more. The victory was doubly sweet for the team was led from upfront by iconic all-rounder Shahid Afridi. It sent home the message that not all Pathans were Taliban. More so when one-time cricketing God Imran Khan is, in his current political role, perceived as soft on the violent Taliban movement conducted in the name of Allah.

It was the Taliban sponsored violence against cricket that had rendered Younis Khan’s boys the game’s pariahs. Their victory lap at Lord’s is an image that’ll bolster not just the beleaguered nation’s resolve to stay united but offer to its youth influenced by Taliban the hope of a life beyond gun-barrels. President Asif Zardari’s spin-doctors must let them know that young achievers like Afridi and the 17-year-old Mohammed Aamer were the poster-boys of Pakistan. Not the likes of those led astray by Baitullah Mahsud.

It was only expected the T-20 championship lit up skies over many Pakistani cities. The bonus really was the play in the Indian media that savored the victory as one of its own team. There is no dearth in the divided sub-continent of people who care for fair appreciation.

Peace activists must prepare a compendium of match reports in the Indian press and have them distributed across Pakistan. We enjoy defeating each other. But on occasions like the one in London this Sunday, our sub-continental pride makes us think as one people. India won the trophy the first time. Pakistan has it now.

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  • http://lughole.net Saarthak

    Appreciate the fair play and well done Pakistan, but I don’t think it boosted any sub-continenetal pride in me. as much as I try and keep politics and sports separate, I can’t suppport a country in sport whose biggest export to our country is terrorism. So well done Pakistan, but I was not supporting you.

    [Reply]

    vinod sharma Reply:

    Well I did support Pakistan, not as much against Sri Lanka as for the “feel good” the good Pakistanis I know so direly require in these troubled times. Not all of Pakistan exports terror to India. Some hotheads and their supporters in the establishment indeed do. Regardless of where we live, all good people must get together to isolate and eliminate the scoundrels.

    [Reply]

    Amit@Amritsar Reply:

    I think we need not extend support to pakistan cricket team neither do we need to be against them..lets not give importance to them at all….its just flash in pan..soon they will be back to their old ways….i donot think the pakistan players have the maturity to assimilate the aura of being star cricketer….eg. Shoaib akhtar…..

    lets not insult india by comparing it with pakistan…we sit in G8 + 4…we provide aid to countries….we have strong economy…..lets not waste our time discussing pakistan…..we have to compete with world…..lets keep our priorities right…..

    [Reply]

    vinod sharma Reply:

    Good thought Amit but a trifle arrogant for a country of our standing. You want us to forget about someone who lives next door and befriend others who are saat samandar paar. Nobody will come and invest in your country if Pakistan is troubled and unable to contain the Taliban. So let us choose our friends without deriding our ignoring our neighbours.

    Jkpakistani Reply:

    Just wait!!! It is a matter of time. and u are right ,there should be no comparision between India and Pakistan or I should say hindu-stan and Pakistan, because despite of all the hate and hurdles in last 62 or so years we are still surviving and yet making the positive impression on the world in all aspects of life and do not forget that the Muslim rule in India for centuries w/o genociding any hindu community.
    This hate from Hindu dominated India keeps us going and every day of our lives remind us that we are not under Hindu majority or would have been subjugated as the current population of Indian Muslims are goping through.

    Jkpakistani Reply:

    I realy do not think we need your support. You are another victim of propganda trail of media against Pakistan which infact could not do more but created hatred between two neighbourng countries.India’s support in aiding the terrorists in north western Pakistan is enough, we will let u know when we will have to import the terrorist from our neighbouring borders.

    [Reply]

    vinod Reply:

    Dear JK Pakistani,
    This blog is meant to have a dialogue but you seem to be in a different mood. By the way, is there anything wrong in an Indian supporting Pakistan’s cricket team? Shahid Aridi has a huge fan following as a cricketer in my country. The main point of my webpost is that he could be built into a Pukhtoon icon for the youth misled into terrorism in NWFP. Do you have a problem with that as well?

  • Prashant

    We can choose to keep the torch of animosity burning or break the ice some place and go beyond terrorism. There are some good things and some bad things in our neighbor. If we only keep harping upon the bad things then we are chosing to remain in this never ending cycle of animosity.

    Having said that, there is nothing like the sub-contenental pride. I am not sure if the English enjoyed when the French won the Football World cup, thinking that oh this is EU pride! It is another way of saying that since we did not get anywhere close so lets enjoy someone else’s win. Sorry…I do not subscribe to this theory. Are we supposed to also feel subcontenental shame when we lose?

    [Reply]

  • Atul

    Sri Lanka has just emerged from an internal upheaval. Pakistan is in the middle of an upheaval.

    The T20 cup will provide temporary reprieve, and thats about it. The Pakistani team had to avoid the media, and their fans when they came home. That brings in some disappointment as well.

    Personally, I am happy that the final was contested by teams in our subcontinent, and still maintain (much to my friend’s charign) that we were lucky to win the last world cup against Pakistan.

    Pakistanis are an incredibly talented people in many walks of life. Sadly, led by a bunch of self serving leaders, they are being plunged into a situation that will only bring grief to themselves and to their neighbours.

    [Reply]

  • Harish T Chinappa

    It is amazing how much North Indian are obsessed with Pakistan and Pakistanis…even after the fact that many of them were driven out of Pakistan for only reason that they did were papad munching / achar eating Hindus (unless they were abducted and converted to Islam after marrying to Muslim Punjabi thungs).

    Why don’t you support Srilankan team which has fair share of Tamils? Why… becuase they might be Budhists or (god forbid) Hindus and dark-skinned on top of that?

    [Reply]

    Indian Reply:

    Vinod,

    Your attempts or intentions for a peaceful south asia are appreciable, however, Harish Chinappa above makes a point. Why not consider Sri-lanka with the same prism as you see Pakistan and ergo either support srilanka also or just be neutral.

    Personally, as somebody who knows a few people who have directly / indirectly been affected by pak sponsored terrorism, I find this an insult to those people who have died for the cause of our country fighting wars with pak or who have been vicitims of cross-border terrorism. There might be good people in pak, but there are many good people in India whose sentiments are important.

    I think Indian national interest is paramount. Everything else is secondary. Our view of pak should only and only be viewed from indian national perspective. That is what pak’s view point is for their interest as is for any other country. Morality has no place in international geopolitics. Incidentially, india has been playing morally correct for many decades and has always payed a very heavy price for it. Please keep your personal sentimentality out of this and look at it from the perspective of millions of Indian (who are also peaceloving) who do not care for murderers across the border. Afterall, we cant be playing cricket with people who are directly or indirectly involved in killing my brothers or at the least keeping quiet about it. Let pak be and let them do whatever they want to do in their country. I do not see any reason to rejoice or feel bad for anything that happens there. We should only be concerned with our country’s interest and if pak plays ball, everyone is happy and if it does not ,then we act to suit ourselves.
    6 decades are enough to teach us lessons. Please atleast wakeup now and smell the coffee. Leave the india – pak friendship obsession alone. It will not happen because they do not care for it.

    [Reply]

    vinod sharma Reply:

    Dear Indian,
    You have a right to your view and I have a right to mine. I too am an Indian though I don’t pose as one with a patent to the nationality. My views aren’t rooted in sentimentality. Their plinth is the solid logic of standing one’s ground without being a war-monger. For all wars and agitations eventually led to talks, to negotiations for resolution of issues on the table. The worst hardliners in our history realised that— remember Vajpayee in Lahore and Advani on Jinnah?
    It’s a fact the Pak establishment is reaping the seeds they sowed. But we can expose the blacksheep among them only through talks. “No talks” cannot be the policy of any civilised country.
    That said, I am surprised Harish Chinappa chose to be racist in response to my blog that celebrated the win and lauded the Indian media for its unbiased coverage. The fact is that Sri Lanka lost. But it won the war against the LTTE by killing innocent Tamils with Pakistani and Chinese weapons. They turned to these countries on being disappointed by India that had problems arming SL troops against Tamils used as human shields by Pirbhakaran and his killer squads.

    [Reply]

    Indian Reply:

    Vinod,

    Thanks for the detailed response.

    My point is not so much about views and counter views or that my view is better than yours but only about practical and strategic thinking that upholds our national interest.
    Second, where did you get the idea that I am suggesting a war. I am not at all propogating a war and neither am I suggesting that we should not talk – Do whatever it takes to ensure our national interest. Sometimes it is action – overt and covert and sometime it is diplomacy and sometimes it is pure posturing. Whatever we do, it is important to look back at our experiences over the last 60 years. It certainly does not give us any evidence of trust or sincerity from the Pak side. Though, you would agree that India has tried on many occassions including the one during Vaypayee as you mentioned. Have we really seen any honest and sincere efforts from Pak till date? or only superficial postering. Nevertheless, the govt. can and should do what is necessary.

    Finally, the only suggestion I made was to let Pak bit and this is regarding civil life where a lot of people are aggrieved for very valid reasons and any public support to pak appears to be at cross-purpose to their sentiments. Javed miandad who is a crickets keeps making anti India statements so does Imran. We also know of their own relationships with anti-india terrorists. Pak cricketers seem to always complain about India and also about the world and not one of them, I repeat not one openly decries the talibad of the jaish or any such body. Therein lies the problem. Additionally, you will see far fewer champions of indo-pak friendship on a number of online websites of pak media as compared to ours.

    Also, I did not have any intention to make this personal so please do not take it as such. My two cents.

    vinod sharma Reply:

    Dear Indian,
    There cannot be two opinions about much of what you have said. The short point I made was that it does not help to carry our mutual distrust on our sleeves. Well meaning Pakistanis are going thru very difficult times. It’s in our interest to back them to expand the constituency of peace. As for Pak cricketers, you named Miandad and Imran (under fire from some of his own fans for his right-wing politics) but ignored the more balanced: Zaheer Abbas, Wasim Akram etc. I just want to remind you that Sunil Gavaskar was a guest of honour at a reception Nawaz Sharif hosted as PM for the world cup winning Pak team in 1992 in Islamabad. That was in recognition of the faith Sunny reposed in Imran Khan’s boys at the beginning of the championship when not many were willing to wager on their victory.
    We could have solved longstanding disputes including Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek, when Musharraf was President. But we couldn’t because we failed to trust him. Many experts believe New Delhi should have seized the opportunity.

    Indian Reply:

    Dear Vinod,

    Fair enough. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Also, was wondering what was the solution to the longstanding disputes (Kashmir, Siachen, etc) that we were close to achieving during Musharraf’s reign? There have been brief pointers here and there, but could not fathom the exact nature of solution. Would much appreciate your thoughts. Thanks!

    vinod Reply:

    Dear Nikhil,
    here take point wise response:
    1) Well, they will continue in the backdrop of what has already transpired.Doesn’t really matter whether they are termed a “composite dialogue” as was the case before. There is a view that a de novo approach would help given the new govt and the new on-the-ground challenges in Pakistan.
    2)Question does not arise. The exchange of non-papers through back-channels is generally aimed at arriving at broad agreements. Our parliament cannot be debating non-papers. We should learn to trust the govt we have elected and not take the line you are suggesting as it would amount to seeking ratification of it all from Parliament. That isn’t the practise in India and rightly so because of the divided polity we have had over the last two decades.
    3) I don’t trust the US as an honest broker. Moreover, it would be contrary to the Simla accord the essence of which is bilateralism. The moment you accept the US as a third party, Pakistan will want the UN as the third party. And that would mean going back to where we started.

    Nikhil Reply:

    Harish,

    Many supported the SL cricket team, including myself, because I still believe it is a better team than the team from Pakistan.

    [Reply]

    reena Reply:

    Hey Harish!
    i don’t think you are right,you sound too reigonal.
    Not good, and we do support Srilankans, over Pakistan team definitely.
    I have been there, and even general public have too much resentment against India( that was in Colombo, which is predominantly sinhalese)
    you can guess the reason, but I love that country, one of most beautiful I had seen.
    I would not like to see it divided in smaller peices, there is enough place for both communities,if it can be assured that Tamils are not treated as 2nd citizens

    [Reply]

  • http://www.sumita-mythoughts.blogspot.com sumita

    indeed its rare case when indian media cherishes victory of our neighbouring country……but this win really needs to be cherished by al cricket playing nations n al cricket fans……..n one thing to learn from Pakistan’s terrific victory is that in the end its how u play on the field dat matters!!!

    [Reply]

    vinod sharma Reply:

    Dear Indian,
    There was a phase in Indo-Pak ties when Islamabad was under pressure from right wing religio political outfits against discussing Siachen independently, the argument being that such an approach would recognize status quo on Kashmir (Siachen being part of the disputed territory). In recent years, the problem has, among other things, been over registering the present position of Indian troops before their withdrawal to less inhospitable heights. Pakistan has been opposing the exercise out of fear that it might be used by India to bolster its territorial claim while India feels the process be undertaken without prejudice to the two countries stated positions on Siachen. New Delhi wants the current position of troops duly recorded in the light of its experience in Kargil. Unlike in Siachen (where the line has to be drawn beyond a particular point call NJ something), the well demarcated line of control in Kargil helped India make Pak withdraw its troops to positions they occupied before the Kargil incursions. The withdrawal of troops is crucial to end the expensive eye-ball-to-eyeball standoff in the glacier.
    On Sir Creek, the two sides have agreed to coordinates to be used for drawing the maritime boundary. Kashmir was closer to a substantial forward movement when during Musharraf’s presidency Pakistan accepted in principle the shift from “new borders” to “no borders” (making the LoC a lesser encumberance for people to people contact between Kashmiris on either side) and PM Manmohan Singh talking about institutional cooperation between the two Kashmirs to afford a quality life to Kashmiris by addressing issues such as environment, health, water conservation etc.
    Much could have been achieved. But distrust killed it all. That’s why I feel the two sides must sit together as often as possible to reduce the trust deficit.

    [Reply]

    Indian Reply:

    Dear Vinod,

    thank you for the detailed explanation.

    Best!

    [Reply]

  • Nikhil

    Vinod,

    With the risk of digressing from the subject, I had few questions. According to American journalist, Steve Coll, the back-channel discussions were stopped because Musharraf went in to domestic political turmoil and never recovered after it. Recently, Dr. Singh and ex-foreign minister from Pak admitted that Kashmir was close to resolution as a result of those talks. My questions are as follows,

    1) Do you believe the new rounds of talks will continue from where they were left off?

    2) Should Dr. Singh make those decisions public; may be debate in Indian Parliament?

    3) Do you believe the presence of a mediator, such as the US, will help reach a resolution in bi-lateral talks between India and Pak sooner?

    Thanks.

    [Reply]

  • http://Hindustantimes M.Shahid Kamal

    Dear Harish , It is a fact that northern Indians have much more in common with Pakistanis than a southern Tamil or an Eastern Assamese. Besides religion they have nothing to share with a Tamil. If India was to be divided in three units under a united India as foreseen in Cabiniet Plan Northern India was to be in same unit with areas consisting present Pakistan.

    [Reply]

  • vijay kumar

    The trouble for India is that we tend to go overboard in idolising Pakistani cricketers, while they do not reciprocate.

    Remember Imran Khan? Some Indian aunties above seventy developed hot pants for him and blew him up in the Indian press.

    Logic? They felt he spoke good English and was handsome.

    Now everything Imran did after that, including his inane utterances on the Mumbai attacks, his ball tampering and his accusations that Indians were behind the attacks on the Lanka team, has been justified by these aunties.

    Last seen Imran Khan was drooling over the Taliban for promoting “fast and cheap” justice. Maybe these hot panted aunties should follow the Taliban’s edicts on cltohing and morality to keep Imran Khan happy!

    [Reply]

  • Zafar Akhtar

    well done hindustan times, i am impressed(being a pakiatani)
    i think the blogs should be encouraged for friendship (as this one), rather than preach hatred( as others)
    i will follow on this blog regularly
    thanks for the oppurtunity

    [Reply]

    vinod Reply:

    Thanx Zafar. You are welcome.

    [Reply]

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  • Anonymous

    the biggest secret this exponent of truth hid and which has affected indias pOlity for the last 60 years . —he was instrumental in giving social recognition and his name to one mr firoz khan who married indira gandhi in london . INDIRAS NAME WAS CHANGED TO MAMOUN BEGUM . aFTER OPPOSITION BY KAMALA AND NEHRU THIS COUPLE BACK IN INDIA UNDERWENT A VEDIC FORM OFMARRIAGE FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION BY VEDIC RITES AS NERHRU THOUGHT THAT OTHERWISE BOTH HIS AND INDIRAS POLITICAL FUTURE WOULD BE IN JEOPARDY . GANDHI SOLVED TE PROBLEM BY DECLARING FIROZ TO BE HIS ADOPTED SON AND HENCE GAVE HIM THE NAME GANDHI

    THE REST IS HISTORY AND A DYNASTY WAS IMPOSED ON THE COUNTRY —-
    ONE WISHES THAT THIS APOSTLE OF TRUTH ETC WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE TRUTHFUL IN THIS MATTER AND MENTIONED HIS ROLE IN ALL THIS — TRUTH CAN BE TAILORED TO SUIT ONESELF AND ONES OPINIONS
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